The protesters, most of them supporters of Kifaya (the movement that has organised a string of similar rallies across the country in recent months), chanted anti-Mubarak slogans and urged him to step down on Wednesday.

"O Mubarak, how much do you need to leave us in peace," they shouted during the demonstration held near the Church of the Virgin Mary in Zeitun, a low-income neighbourhood of Cairo with a large Coptic community.

Earlier this month, the same group held a rally outside the Sayeda Zeinab mosque on the outskirts of the city.

The Zeitun event appeared to be designed to underscore the multi-confessional aspect of the movement.

Outnumbered

The protesters, easily outnumbered by security forces deployed in the area, marched through the streets and invited curious residents watching from their apartment balconies to join them.

"Down, down Mubarak," they chanted. The demonstration continued for two hours.

The 77-year-old Mubarak has yet to announce if he will seek a fifth six-year term in presidential elections due to be convened in September that will for the first time be contested by other candidates.

Electoral law

Movements such as Kifaya are, however, keeping up the pressure on Mubarak with several demonstrations a week demanding that he end his 24-year rule.

In a separate development, the Egyptian parliament's legislative committee has agreed to amend five articles of the country's electoral law that were ruled unconstitutional by the legislative court.

President Hosni Mubarrak had referred the matter to the parliamentary committee for a review. Amendments to Article 76 of the Egyptian constitution stipulate that the court's opinion must be taken into account before the electoral law is finally approved.